fun things to do in Key West, Florida

Get a taste for the fabulous food scene, soar above the area in a seaplane, see dolphins up close on a cruise, or snorkel through the crystal clear waters — with so many fun things to do in Key West, you’ll truly be spoiled for choice.

Whether you’re after thrills, relaxation, or anything in between, Key West is a fantastic destination year-round.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and explore the best things to do in Key West!

1 – Explore Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Key West, Florida
Interior of Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Built-in 1866 to defend the nation’s southeastern coastline, the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park played essential roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War — and there’s no better way to learn the ins and outs of US history than with a guided tour of the well-preserved fortress.

Located on the westernmost tip of Key West, this historic landmark also offers some fantastic snorkeling opportunities and excellent cycling trails.

2- Snorkel along North America’s only living coral reef

snorkeling trip, Key West, Florida

Looking for a fun day out in the water?

Travel by catamaran and snorkel in the clear blue waters of the Keys!

Discover some of the most diverse coral reefs on the planet and meet sea turtles, parrotfishes, angelfish, and so many more aquatic friends.

3 – Set sail to watch the sunset over Key West from the deck of the schooner America 2.0

Schooner America 2.0 sunset sailing tour, Key West, Florida
credit to Classic Harbor Line

Get ready for an enchanting evening like none other!

With a stunning sunset sailing cruise aboard a classic schooner, you’ll be able to admire iconic Key West landmarks from the water, including Mallory Square, Fort Zachary, and the Sand Key Lighthouse, to name a few.

For that extra special touch, drinks and appetizers are served throughout the cruise.

4 – Kayaking through the Key West mangroves

mangrove kayak eco tour, Key West, Florida
family kayaking through the mangroves creeks

Spot Florida wildlife in their natural habitat, learn more about why the mangroves are essential for the local ecosystem, and discuss how to become more sustainable in today’s world with your tour guide — all on an exciting kayak tour through the Key West mangroves!

With warm waters year-round, there’s never a bad time to give it a try.

5 – Have a boat party with your friends

party boat, Key West, Florida

It wouldn’t be Florida without at least a few parties, now would it?

Cut loose on one of Key West’s most exciting party boats, where tasty cocktails, pumping music, stunning coastal views, and hours of rowdy fun with your friends await.

Boat parties are perfect for celebrating a special moment, as well as for meeting fellow like-minded travelers.

6 – Take a dolphin-watching cruise!

dolphin watching, Key West, Florida

If you’re a wildlife lover, then a cruise to the Key West National Wildlife Refuge should sit high atop the Florida bucket list!

The dolphins often come within arm’s reach of the modern catamaran, more than happy to say hello from the comfort of their natural environment.

With an expert marine biologist, there’s plenty to be learned about the local ecosystem too.

7 – Discover Key West on a hop-on hop-off trolley bus tour

Old Town trolley tour in Key West, Florida

The simple solution to seeing as many of Key West’s 100+ points of interest as possible, the trolley offers 13 convenient stops perfect for exploring the best that Key West has to offer.

With both 1-day and 2-day tickets available, there’s a hassle-free option to suit every schedule.

8 – Feel the thrill of a jet ski

jetski in Key West, Florida

Looking for a genuine adrenaline-pumping experience?

Book a jet ski tour, ride around on Florida’s tropical waters, and see some of the most unique scenery in the country — it’s a surefire way to add some high-speed thrills to your Key West holiday, and it’s fun for all ages!

9 – Visit the famous U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Museum, Key West, Florida

Serving in active duty from 1936 to 1988, the Cutter Ingham is a quintessential portrait of U.S. coast guard history, a must-visit site for every history buff.

So why not explore the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham museum and learn about one of the country’s most decorated ships?

10 – Discover the wonders of Key West by bike

bike tour in Key West, Florida

With barely any traffic and a go-slow atmosphere blanketing the area, there’s no better way to explore Key West’s historic Old Town than on two wheels!

Pedal past famous landmarks on dedicated bike paths, stop into a staple eaterie or three, and let the local guide share all of the region’s most fascinating tidbits the whole way through.

A bike tour is a perfect introduction for first-time visitors.

11 – Enjoy a culinary adventure through the Key West Historic Seaport

food tour, Key West, Florida
plate with crab legs in a restaurant in Key West

Ready to fall in love with the city’s flavors?

Then make a beeline for Key West’s charming Seaport neighborhood, where the sights, sounds, and, of course, indulgent flavors regularly take visitors on unforgettable culinary journeys!

Besides the seafood, Cuban cuisine, and the decadent key lime pie, the seaport also sports a riveting history.

12 – Discover the wonder of the aquatic animal world at  Key West Aquarium

Key West Aquarium, Key West, Florida

Located in Mallory Square, Key West Aquarium is one of the city’s most beloved attractions, offering the perfect outing for families and animal lovers.

With the opportunity to feed sharks, touch cow nose rays, meet alligators, and learn why sea turtles are endangered, it’s sure to satisfy any traveler’s curiosity.

13 – Grab a seat on the Trolley of the Doomed!

Ghosts & Gravestones Tour of Key West, Florida

Believe it or not, Key West has a dark side; with a number of haunted sites scattering the island, there’s plenty of spooky tales to be told.

Eager to learn all about Key West’s supernatural history then?

Just Hop aboard the Trolley of the Doomed, where local experts share frightening tales of years gone by as you traverse the dark and narrow streets of Old Town.

14 – Have fun at Key West’s world-famous Fantasy Fest

Fantasy Fest, Key West, Florida

Held annually in the last week of October, Fantasy Fest is the biggest event of the year in the Florida Keys, attracting thousands of fun-loving party-goers from all corners of the globe.

With a parade tradition stretching as far back as 1979, everyone gets decked out in the most colorful, creative, and outrageous costumes they can cobble together — a lot of fun is guaranteed!

15 – Spice things up with a romantic dinner at Latitude’s

Latitude's Restaurant, Key West, Florida
credit to Latitude’s Restaurant

No visit to Key West is truly complete without a dinner at the award-winning Latitude’s Restaurant.

While the wide range of delicious dishes is second to none, the 5-star service and breathtaking sunset views combine to make these dinners truly special.

Since it’s so popular, advanced reservations are usually required.

16 –  Parasail above the Keys’ shimmering waters

parasailing in Key West, FloridaThinking of trying something totally unique during your time in Key West? Well, look no further!

With a thrilling (yet oddly relaxing) parasailing ride, travelers are greeted by unparalleled views of the Florida Keys below.

It’s one of the most exciting adventure activities in Key West, without a doubt.

17 – Wet your whistle with a social pub crawl!

Key West craft cocktail crawl

Looking to meet people? Keen to sample the best brews from the Keys’ finest watering holes? Then a locally-led pub crawl may be just what the doctor ordered!

Hope between Key West’s trendiest bars — including cocktails bars, music bars, local breweries, and historical lounges — and make plenty of new friends along the way.

18 – Watch an independent film at the Tropic Cinema

Tropic Cinema, Key West, Florida

One for the Hollywood film buffs, the Tropic Cinema arthouse promises to provide the ultimate movie fix, with rotating films of every genre, old and new.

Screenings are usually limited, so check the calendar in advance to guarantee your seat at the latest independent blockbuster.

19 – Tour the historic Harry S. Truman Little White House

Harry S. Truman Little White House, Key West, Florida
The exterior of the Harry S. Truman Little White House, which has been used by American presidents for official state business.

For history aficionados (particularly presidential history), this place should sit high atop any list of things to do in Key West.

With a visit to the Harry S. Truman Little White House, intrigued guests can explore the rooms where Truman held meetings and discussed government matters, discover an essential part of Florida’s history, and learn the ins and outs of Truman’s years as president.

20 – Fly in style in a helicopter over the Florida Keys

helicopter tour, Key West, Florida
credit to Air Adventure

Fly like a rockstar above Florida’s most beautiful landscape in a luxurious helicopter!

Camera at the ready, people; from thousands of feet above the ground you’ll be able to spot the Keys’ best beaches, admire the mangrove maze, spot dolphins, and discover parts of the island that are only accessible by air.

21 – Dine at the legendary Hard Rock Cafe Key West

Hard Rock Cafe, Key West, Florida

Visit the iconic Hard Rock Cafe Key West for great American food and thirst-quenching drinks wrapped in a unique musical experience.

Set within a beautiful historical building on the historic Duval Street, Hard Rock Cafe Key West is the perfect place to dine in style and feel like a star.

22 – Experience a world-class fishing day trip

fishing day trip, Key West, Florida

Key West is nothing short of an angler’s paradise, and its fishing charters have built up a strong reputation among anglers from around the globe as a result.

With so many fantastic fishing trips to choose from — set on beautiful boats with expert crews — there’s plenty of opportunities to catch all kinds of species, including sailfish, marlin, mako sharks, red snappers, and giant groupers.

23 – Visit the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum

Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum, Key West, Florida

Step back into time as you learn all about the region’s maritime past with a trip to the fantastic Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum.

Besides seeing real treasures salvaged from sinking ships, guests are also told daring tales of ‘wrecking’ — the foundation of Key West’s economy during the 18th century. It’s a fun experience for the entire family!

24 – Visit the San Carlos Institute

San Carlos institute, Key West, Florida

Established in 1871 by Cuban exiles, the San Carlos Institute aims to preserve the Cuban people’s language, culture, and traditions.

It also helped unite the exiled Cuban community and has been considered the cradle of Cuba’s independence movement.

Simply put, this place is a Key West must-visit for any history buff.

25 – Pamper your better half at the Better Than Sex dessert restaurant

Better Than Sex desserts restaurant, Key West, Florida

Looking for a romantic dining experience?

Then pay a visit to Better Than Sex, the perfect spot for celebrating Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, or even a first date!

To say that your sweet tooth will be satisfied is an understatement — to truly appreciate the romantic flavors and atmosphere, you’ve got to experience it for yourself.

26 – Join a glass-bottom boat tour

glass bottom tour, Key West, Florida

You don’t need to go scuba diving to admire the underwater world; with a glass-bottom boat tour from Key West, the undersea comes to you — keep your eyes peeled for some exciting and colorful sea life.

See North America’s only living coral barrier reef and admire stunning tropical fish, beautiful coral, intimidating sharks, and adorable sea turtles. Once you’re ready to kick back and relax, the sun deck (cocktail in hand) awaits.

27 – Enjoy a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park day trip from Key West, Florida

Experience the day trip of a lifetime, filled with beachcombing, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, wildlife viewing, and plenty of sightseeing!

Only accessible via boat or seaplane, the secluded islands of Dry Tortugas National Park offer an unforgettable day trip for the entire family.

28 – Step back in time and visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West, Florida

Nestled among towering palm trees on the western end of the island in Old Town, Hemingway’s former home is one of Key West’s most popular attractions (and a must-see for literary buffs visiting the Keys!).

After wandering around the lush garden, head inside to discover the well-preserved rooms filled with Hemingway memorabilia including photos, books, and furniture.

29 – Watch the thrilling Key West Offshore Racing World Championships

Key West Offshore Racing World Championships, Florida

Speed, power, and fun come to Key West every year for the area’s most exciting water event on the calendar: the roaring Offshore Racing World Championships, where the world’s top offshore boat racers fly across the harbor!

If the dates line up with your vacation, then buckle up for an unforgettable spectacle. To keep up with all the latest news, visit Race World Offshore.

30 – Immerse yourself in hundreds of colorful butterflies

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Florida

Stroll through a magical environment filled with hundreds of the most beautiful winged creatures in nature — featuring 60 types of butterflies in a truly enchanting setting, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is one of the island’s most popular attractions for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

31 – See the nightly Key West’s Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square

show of street artists, Mallory Square, Key West, Florida
fire eater walking on hot coals during the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square

Arguably the best way to transition a relaxing afternoon into a lively evening, gather at Mallory Square just as the sun goes down.

Making the famous Key West sunset all the more special, extraordinary jugglers, local musicians, clowns, and magicians create a bustling atmosphere unmatched by anywhere else in the region.

It’s a quintessential cultural experience and fun for all ages.

32 – Stop into Pepe’s Café

Pepe’s Café, key West, Florida

Where old-school dining meets modern flavors, the 111-year-old Pepe’s Café is billed as the oldest eaterie in the Florida Keys.

Situated in the Old Town neighborhood of Key West, the restaurant serves excellent island cuisine and delicious cocktails — but even if you’re not a diehard foodie, the funky atmosphere alone is worthy of an afternoon visit.

33 – Visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum and let out your inner treasure hunter

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, Key West, Florida

Any Pirates of the Caribbean fans in the house?

At the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, curious visitors learn how Mel Fisher and his crew found the biggest prize in treasure-hunting history: $450 million worth of gold, jewels, coins, and artifacts.

It’s a fascinating story, but not the only one; the museum also showcases other ancient Spanish ship’s treasures.

34 – Taste some of Florida Keys finest rums

Key West First Legal Rum Distillery, Florida
The thermometer on a copper pot for the distillation of alcohol

You’re on vacation, after all, so why not have a drink or two and unwind?

At the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery, not only are guests welcome to try a selection of exquisite rums, but they’re also taught how the venue uses centuries-old distillation techniques to transform sugarcane into smooth white rum.

Can’t decide what to drink? Opt for a tasting flight, with various award-winning rums, or learn how to make a Cuban mojito!

35 – Say hello to the Keys’ friendly sea turtles

Key West Turtle Museum, Florida

Who doesn’t love turtles, right?

At the Key West Turtle Museum, besides unforgettable meet-and-greet opportunities, visitors are taught all about the protection efforts to save the endangered sea turtles.

This is one of the best places to dive into Key West’ unique maritime history.

36 – Encounter chatty parrots at Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden

Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden, Key West, FloridaNancy, an environmental artist, has created a magical bird sanctuary that is quickly becoming a popular tourist attraction.

Here, travelers are blessed with the opportunity to meet and interact with rescued parrots and macaws, some of which can talk!

The reviews say it all: Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden is an unbelievable place that all holidaymakers in Key West should visit.

37 – Scuba dive through a Cold War-era ship

Vandenberg wreck diving, Key West, Florida

Key West is home to world-class diving, scattered all over the island’s shores.

One of the undisputed highlights, however, is the USNS Vandenberg — located off the coast of Key West, this wreck has become a popular site for divers from all over the world.

Considered the world’s second-largest artificial reef, the Vandenberg wreck is a fantastic oceanic playground to explore.

38 – Check out the iconic Audubon House & Tropical Gardens

Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, Key West, Florida

Dating back to the 1840s and named after well-known ornithologist John James Audubon, the Audubon House Gallery offers an impressive collection of Audubon artworks.

For nature lovers, stroll the lush grounds and admire beautiful orchids and other tropical plants.

39 – Stand at the southernmost point in America

Southernmost point buoy, Key West, Florida
The Key West, Florida Buoy sign marking the southernmost point on the continental USA and distance to Cuba.

Visited by thousands of people each day, the iconic Southernmost Point Buoy is a must-visit landmark for every Key West first-time visitor.

If you squint hard enough, you *might* (read: with some imagination) be able to see Cuba.

Of course, don’t forget to snap a photo with the colorful buoy

40 – Get to know native plants and animals at the Keys Eco-Discovery Center

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, Key West, Florida
credit to FHWA

Located in the heart of Key West, the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center features exhibits that cover the plants and animals of both Florida’s underwater and above-ground worlds.

With plenty of hands-on activities, it’s a fantastic place to bring the kids — not only will they have a blast, but they’ll also learn the importance of protecting and conserving Florida’s ecosystem.

41 – Taste Floridian-Caribbean cuisine at the quirky Blue Heaven

Blue Heaven restaurant, Key West, Florida

Filled with rich Key West history, Blue Heaven is a local staple and one of Key West’s most unique restaurants.

Grab a seat under the shaded canopy, let the live music whisk you away, keep an eye on the roaming chickens, and dig into one of many delectable dishes.

Don’t miss the chance to order their famous key lime pie — an iconic dessert featured on countless TV shows over the years.

42 – Climb the top of Key West lighthouse

Key West lighthouse, Florida
The historic and popular center, lighthouse, and Duval Street in downtown Key West.

Built back in 1825 to help the ships navigate the Lower Keys’ shallow and hazardous reefs, the Key West lighthouse is one of the oldest structures and an important island attraction.

Today, guests are given the chance to climb the 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the breathtaking views.

43 – Visit the Fort East Martello Museum

Fort East Martello Museum. Key West, Florida

Fort East Martello is nowadays the home of the Fort East Martello Museum, featuring historical exhibits spanning the 19th and 20th centuries.

Discover the fantastic collection of Civil War artifacts, admire Stanley Papio’s unique metal sculptures, learn about the wrecking industry that shaped the Florida Keys, and (if you’re brave enough) meet the Ghosts of East Martello, none more famous than Robert the Doll.

44 – Knock a few back at Sloppy Joe’s bar

Sloppy Joe's Bar, Key West, Florida
Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Duval Street a landmark in Key West

Want to get your alcohol fix?

Established on the day prohibition was repealed, Sloppy Joe’s Bar is one of Key West’s most famous watering holes.

Bring your friends, grab a drink (or five), and enjoy a taste of the laid-back Key West lifestyle — it’s one of the best things to do in Key West.

45 – Visit Key West’s oldest wood-frame vernacular house

The Oldest House Museum, Key West, Florida
credit to Old Island Restoration Foundation

Located on Duval Street, the Oldest House Museum is (akin to its name) the oldest house in South Florida that still stands today. Built back in 1829 by a ship’s captain, it’s a true hidden gem — and one architecture lovers are sure to drool over.

If you’re thinking about hosting an event — a wedding, a birthday, or a private party — Oldest House offers the perfect backdrop for creating a memorable scene.

46 – Enjoy a unique floating Tiki bar cruise

Cruisin' Tikis Key West boat party, Florida

Looking for something unique, something with a little bit of flair to add that extra fun twist to your Key West holiday? Then book a Tiki bar boat, an experience beloved by locals and tourists alike.

The departure points are ‘Mellow Ventures Café’ and ‘Hurricane Hole Marina.’

47 – Explore the Key West Museum of Art & History

Key West Museum of Art & History, Florida

No visit to the Keys would be complete without a visit to the award-winning Key West Museum of Art & History.

Located in Mallory Square, formerly the city’s post office, this four-story red brick building features an impressive collection of artworks centered on the  Florida Keys’ fascinating history.

48 – Gaze at the colorful blossoms at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

With the claim to fame of being the continental USA’s only sub-tropical conservation habitat, this natural Key West oasis has been delighting travelers for over 85 years.

However, it’s so much more than just a peaceful slice of nature:

Besides flora and fauna galore, visitors can also admire the art and sculptures displayed all over Stock Island — or, take it one step further and create the art yourself with a student artist workshop at the Garden Exhibit.

Bring your walking shoes; there are countless boardwalks and nature trails (as well as nearby marina piers) throughout the 15-acre living museum!

So, there you have it, folks — the complete list of fun things to do in Key West! We hope you enjoyed the selection!

Do you have other fun activities to recommend? Then don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Happy travels!